Things I’ve Gotten Better at With Age, but Still Mostly Suck At

I’m a fledgling adult. I’m only about 30% complete with my human-ing. This life stage means that I’ve been able to master a few important life skills, but for the most part, I’m still a clueless idiot. Since I started my adult-ing five years ago, there have been a lot of things I’ve been improving to make myself a more productive member of society, but no one’s perfect, ok. Back off.

Here are some things I’ve been working on, but I haven’t quite perfected.

Eating healthy

After a four-year diet of 7/11 and Jimmy Johns, I was definitely hurting in the healthy eating category. My little college apartment came equipped with a fully functioning stove, yet for some reason I always found myself shoveling Chex Mix into my mouth and calling it dinner. This one time, I made big, healthy salads every day for two weeks. I was so proud of myself for finally getting my life together. Then, I ran out of lettuce and never bought any, ever again.

Now, I have a little more time on my hands. I cook, like, on a real stove, almost every day. I’ve made some insane dietary changes (the no-animal-products-of-any-kind sort of insane changes) and eat quinoa and spinach on a regular basis.

With such conscious eating habits, one deserves a cheat meal on the weekends, right? It seems reasonable, but the problem is that it never stops at one cheat meal. I eat my boring salads all week at work, then spend three days pounding french fries like the potato famine is coming.

Laundry

The past five years have been a never-ending game of “does this smell like I’ve worn it more than five times?” Living in dorms or an apartment where I need a roll of quarters and a death wish to go into the basement in the back alley, my clothes found themselves in an increasingly damp pile on the floor. While perfume and I were tight-knit, Britney Spears Fantasy can only go so far to cover up my procrastination. On the occasion that I finally made the trip to the bank to get a roll of quarters, I would toss it all in, dry it all off, and shove it back into my hamper, clean and wrinkly. My apartment had a walk-in closet. I had ample drawer space and plenty of extra hangers, but did I spend the ten extra minutes it takes to look like a mature and presentable human by putting my clothes away neatly? Absolutely not.

Now, I am a new woman. I wash my clothes once a week and try not to wear the same thing twice (Except jeans. I do not wash my jeans after every use. I’m not a psycho.) My mother would be shocked to know how clean my clothes are, but she still gives me a disapproving head shake every time I wear my freshly washed, grayish-white shirts. See, I don’t separate my colors, because ain’t nobody got time for that. Whatever’s dirty goes straight into the washer, reds, whites, denim, and all. I don’t even have a good reason for this oversight. I just don’t feel like separating them. I’m sure you’re thinking Well, at least your clothes are finally clean and wrinkle-free. Nope. I have a hamper full of clean clothes in my closet as we speak.

Cleaning

Growing up, my parents wouldn’t even come into my room. They would stand by the door and yell to me across the path of destruction that was my bedroom floor. Sure, I had dressers and shelves, but every single thing I owned was strewn across my floor like the aftermath of a Hulk temper tantrum. There were times when (I swear on my life. You can call my parents to confirm) you couldn’t see an inch of carpet. This was a wonderful habit that I carried with me to college. My apartment was a beautiful Jackson Pollock art installment. I was content to live in my filth forever.

Then, I made the absurd decision to marry a neat freak. For the first time in my life, my inexplicable inability to pick something up once it’s touched the floor was affecting another human being. Though this was the life a knew and loved, I knew it was time to change. Little did I know the joy that comes with being able to walk across the bedroom without a make-up brush stabbing you in the foot. Now, I clean voluntarily, without groaning. Unless we’re talking about the previously mentioned laundry hamper or the dishes, I really hate doing the dishes. What can I say, I’m a sucker for adventure. You’ve never lived until you’ve spent 20 minutes scraping dried mac and cheese off your one and only pot.

Organization

If you ask the people who know me, they’ll tell you that I’m a teeny bit forgetful. I’m not going to leave a baby in a hot car or anything, but I might forget about that doctor’s appointment I scheduled for myself last week. For most of my life up until this point, I’ve always been a very busy person. School has always been the least time-consuming thing on my plate compared to my jobs and other activities. With all those plates spinning, it’s easy to forget things like appointments, weekend plans, calling my mom…..paying bills…..assignments……turning off the stove. Okay, maybe I’m a little more forgetful than the average busy person.

Now, I have all sorts off free-time on my hands and more space in my brain. I only forget to turn off the stove about half the time and I have never missed a deadline at work. With all of my free-time, I’ve created a very formal and intuitive plan to organize my life. Just write it down, anywhere. I make Excel spreadsheets, stick post-its to the back of my phone, write on my hand, email myself, write it a piece of paper, burn it, and blow the ashes into the wind while wishing on a shooting star. I could just write it all in my phone calendar so everything is in one place with reminders and alarms, but that would be easy.

Calling banks/insurance/cable company/ etc.

There was a time when being fined for missing a payment seemed like a less-horrifying option that speaking to a real-life human who would ask me adult questions that I half-pretend to know the answer to. I would avoid making these calls at all cost. When they couldn’t be avoided for any longer, I would take a deep breath, grab my phone….and call my mom in hopes that if I sounded confused enough, she would just do it for me.

Well not anymore. I have my social security number memorized and can confidently scramble through a pile of papers to find the 3,000 different account numbers they ask for. I can even make small talk and laugh at their jokes while sweating through my shirt. I’ll still wait until the day before the deadline to call, though. Stranger danger and all that.

*shrug*

Maybe by the time I’m 30 I’ll figure out what the hell fabric softener is or understand why I need to move the couch and vacuum underneath it.